The start of 2017 has not been kind to the Conservative party so far…
Brexit blow-backs and clashes with the House of the Lords and with the SNP have dominated news cycles throughout the first quarter of the year.
Now, the Tories have managed to further exacerbate their issues by getting fined a record £70,000 by the electoral commission.
To make matters worse, the previous Torie treasurer, Simon Day, has been reported to the police by the electoral commission for “significantly failing” to disclose campaign spending.
Furthermore, if Simon Day “knowingly” falsely declared campaign spending for the 2015 general election, he would have committed a criminal offence and could potentially stand trial due to breach of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.
The Electoral Commission began a year long investigation into the conservative party in order to obtain national spending statistics.
However, the commission found that the conservatives failed to declare and accurately documented £275,000 worth of campaign spending in 2014 by-elections as well as the 2015 general election.
The Electoral Commission stated that there is a “realistic prospect”, the Tories gained an unfair financial advantage over the remaining parties during the 2015 general election. They were also accused of not cooperating with the commission and delaying their investigation by a few months.
This is the first time the conservative party has been fined, being the largest fine ever imposed on a political party.
A spokesperson of the conservative party responded by stating that all parties have made financial reporting errors from “time to time” and assured that the party is going to pay the full imposed fine.
Aside from Simon Day and the general election, up to 20 MPs may come under fire for surpassing election spending restrictions.
Local campaigns are allowed to spend between £11,000 to £16,000 based on the size of their constituency, any spending over that may result in cases opened with the Crown Prosecution Service.
The conservative party is not the first political party to be fined due to campaign spending failure, labor and the liberal-democrats have been too. However, the Tories inept financial reporting during the 2015 general election was far too much.